SEA03LA017
SEA03LA017

On November 23, 2002, approximately 1149 mountain standard time, a Grumman American AA-1C, N9526U, registered to an individual, and being flown by a commercial pilot sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following a total loss of power shortly after takeoff near Rigby, Idaho. The pilot was uninjured and there was no fire. Visual meteorological conditions were reported at the Rexburg airport nearby, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight, which was personal, was operated under 14CFR91, and originated from the Rigby-Jefferson County airport, Rigby, Idaho, departing approximately 1145.

In a written statement, the pilot reported that during the climb out after takeoff, the engine experienced a power loss. The pilot performed an emergency landing in an open field and during the roll out impacted a ditch and the nose landing gear collapsed. The pilot stated, "...the reason for the power loss was a lack of fuel in the selected tank..." and that "...this came as a surprise because the tank had been full during the preflight inspection...." He further stated, "...I had only been flying for about one hour when it ran out of gas...."

In a telephone interview with the pilot shortly after the accident, he reported to the Investigator in Charge, that he had flown for about an hour and then landed at Rigby to talk to an acquaintance. He stated he was taking off from Rigby when at 300 feet AGL the engine rapidly lost power with no reported vibration or unusual sounds. He felt he was too low to attempt a restart and executed a forced landing.

When the Investigator queried him as to whether he had any idea what might have happened, he volunteered that it was "fuel starvation" (i.e., less fuel than he expected in the selected fuel tank). He related that he had gassed the aircraft the previous day and then had flown an hour on the left tank. On the day of the accident he flew for about an hour, landed at Rigby, and then took off again whereupon the engine quit. He reported that each tank holds 11 gallons.






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